When I wrote about Just One of the Guys (1985) last year, I mentioned my love for actor Clayton Rohner. A lovely commenter named Jill agreed with me, recommending that I view another of his films, Modern Girls (1986). I told her I’d seen it and promised to write about it soon. So, guess what? Soon is now.

I previously wrote about Modern Girls and its soundtrack on my now-defunct blog, but I wanted to give it some proper time here at Popdose so that more than five people can enjoy its charms. It stars Virginia Madsen, Daphne Zuniga, and Cynthia Gibb as Kelly, Margo, and CeCe, three Los Angeles roommates whose main goal in life seems to be enjoying the L.A. nightlife and meeting hot guys. The movie covers one night on which the three of them have made plans to go out, only Kelly ditches Margo and CeCe and takes the car so she can meet up with her on-again, off-again douchebag boyfriend. When Cliff (Clayton Rohner), a guy Kelly had made a date with for that night, shows up and discovers he’s been stood up, Margo and CeCe, noticing he has a car, convince him to drive them around so they can find Kelly. Wackiness ensues as CeCe decides to chase her dream man, a rock star named Bruno X (also played by Rohner), all over the city — and drags her friends along with her.

I hadn’t heard of Modern Girls until I discovered it a couple years ago messing around on the IMDB, playing my own version of Six Degrees of Separation. I really wanted to see it but found out it’s not on DVD (of course there are plenty of used VHS copies floating around, available through various online retailers). I did happen to find it on Showtime (Encore also plays it now and then), so I hit record on the DVR and readied myself to view a lost ’80s masterpiece. Well, it’s no masterpiece, but I still loved it. Sure, its plot is silly and predictable, but it has a great cast and an interesting soundtrack, not to mention plenty of mid-’80s clothing and hairstyles to marvel at.

The “interesting” soundtrack contains a mix of mostly ’80s pop and new wave. It’s probably most notable for featuring Depeche Mode’s “But Not Tonight,” originally a B-side to “Stripped,” the first UK single from their 1986 album Black Celebration. When it came time to release the album and a single in the U.S., the band’s American label, Sire, decided to include “But Not Tonight” on the Modern Girls soundtrack. Sire then put the song on U.S. pressings of Black Celebration and made it the album’s first single in the States, with “Stripped” as the B-side. I’ve read that Depeche Mode didn’t really like “But Not Tonight” and weren’t happy about Sire’s decision to put so much focus on the song.

Of course the soundtrack is out of print. I’ve got my eye on a used vinyl copy but haven’t gotten around to actually buying it. I did manage to locate about half of the songs, which is less than I had hoped, and as you’ll see, I figured YouTube clips were better than nothing when it came to songs for which I couldn’t find MP3s. I also encourage you to check out moderngirlsmovie.com, a fantastic Modern Girls fan site, which includes a Flash player containing several of the tracks I don’t have. Incidentally, that site has to be the most comprehensive Modern Girls site on the Internets (I’m not sure how stiff the competition is), so poke around and take a look at all the other goodies its webmaster has to offer. And, as always, if you have an MP3 of a song from the soundtrack that I didn’t provide, please share.

The Call – Everywhere I Go
Chris Isaak – Dancin’
Icehouse – No Promises
TKA – One Way Love
Lions & Ghosts – Passion
George Black – Concentration Breakdown
Floy Joy – Weak in the Presence of Beauty
Kommunity FK – Something Inside Me Has Died
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking
Club Nouveau – Jealousy
The Belle Stars – Iko Iko
Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight

Toni Basil, “Girls Night Out” (The song starts at about 1:06 and can be heard prominently until about 3:08.)
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Scott Rogness, “SafarÁƒ©” (This is one of Bruno X’s songs. In the film’s credits the song is listed as being performed by “Rogness Scott.”)
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About the Author

Kelly Stitzel

After shutting down her own blog, Looking at Them, in mid-2008, Kelly migrated over to Popdose, bringing with her Soundtrack Saturday, the most popular column from her old site. Kelly makes a living as a fashion and marketing copywriter, which takes up a lot of her time. However, when she is able to write about things that have nothing to do with her day job, she contributes reviews and musings on music, film and a variety of other topics. In addition to Soundtrack Saturday, columns she's written include Filminism and Pulling Rank.

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